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  • Evaluation of T-34 & KV-1 by Aberdeen

    "Evaluation of tanks T-34 and KV by workers of the Aberdeen testing grounds of the U.S."
    (from the Tanker's forum, posted by Misha Veksler)

    (Footnote 1 -- reads, "The full name of the document is, "An Evaluation of the T-34 and KV tanks by workers of the Aberdeen Testing Grounds of the U.S., submitted by firms, officers and members of military commissions responsible for testing tanks." The tanks were given to the U.S. by the Soviets at the end of 1942 for familiarization.")
    The condition of the tanks

    The medium tank T-34, after driving 343 km, became disabled and could not be fixed. The reason: owing to the extremely poor air cleaner on the diesel, a large quantity of dirt got into the engine and a breakdown occurred, as a result of which the pistons and cylinders were damaged to such a degree that they were impossible to fix. The tank was withdrawn from tests and was to be shelled by the KV and its "Z/ 3" (?) -- by the cannon of the M-10 tank. After this it would be sent to Aberdeen, where it would be analyzed and kept as an exhibit.

    The heavy tank KV is still functional. Tests are continuing, although it has many mechanical defects.
    The silhouette/configuration of the tanks

    Everyone, without exception, approves of the shape of the hull of our tanks. The T-34's is particularly good. All are of the opinion that the shape of the T-34's hull is better than that of any American tank. The KV's is worse than on any current American tank.
    Armor

    A chemical analysis of the armour showed that on both tanks the armour plating has a shallow surface tempering, whereas the main mass of the armoured plating is made of soft steel.

    In this regard, the Americans consider that, by changing the technology used to temper the armoured plating, it would be possible to significantly reduce its thickness while preserving its protective capacities. As a result the weight of the tank could be decreased by 8-10%, with all the resulting benefits (an increase in speed, reduction in ground pressure, etc.)
    Hull

    The main deficiency is the permeability to water of the lower hull during water crossings, as well as the upper hull during rain. In heavy rain lots of water flows through chinks/ cracks, which leads to the disabling of the electrical equipment and even the ammunition.

    The Americans liked how the ammunition is stowed.
    Turret

    Its main weakness is that it is very tight. The Americans could not understand how our tankers could fit inside during winter, when they wear sheepskin jackets. The electrical mechanism for turning the turret is very bad. The motor is weak, heavily overloaded and sparks horribly, as a result of which the device regulating the speed of the rotation burns out, and the teeth of the cogwheels break into pieces. They recommend redoing it as a hydraulic or simply manual system.

    KV-1 heavy tank at Bovington Museum (England) (photo by [...])
    Armament

    The gun of the T-34 is very good. It is simple, dependable and easy to service. Its weakness is that the initial speed of the shell is significantly less than that of the American "Z/ 3" (3200 feet versus 5700 feet per second).
    Aiming/Back-sight

    The general opinion: the best in the world. Incomparable with any existing (well-known here) tanks or any under development.
    Track

    The Americans very much like the idea of steel tracks. But they believe that until they receive the results of the comparative performance of steel vs. rubber tracks on American tanks in Tunis and other active fronts, there is no basis for changing from the American solution of rubber bushings and pads.

    The deficiencies in our tracks from their viewpoint results from the lightness of their construction. They can easily be damaged by small calibre shells and mortar bombs. The pins are extremely poorly tempered and made of poor steel. As a result they quickly wear and the track often breaks. The idea of having loose track pins that are held in place by a cam welded to the side of the hull, at first was greatly liked by the Americans. But when in use under certain operating conditions, the pins would become bent which often resulted in the track rupturing. The Americans consider that if the armour is reduced in thickness the resultant weight saving can be used to make the tracks heavier and more reliable.
    Suspension

    On the T-34, it is poor. Suspension of the Christie type was tested long ago by the Americans, and unconditionally rejected. On our tanks, as a result of the poor steel on the springs, it very quickly (unclear word) and as a result clearance is noticeably reduced. On the KV the suspension is very good.
    Motor

    The diesel is good and light. The idea of using diesel engines on tanks is shared in full by American specialists and military personnel. Unfortunately, diesel engines produced in U.S. factories are used by the navy and therefore the army is deprived of the possibility of installing diesels in its tanks.

    The deficiency of our diesels is the criminally poor air cleaners on the T-34. The Americans consider that only a saboteur could have constructed such a device. They also don't understand why in our manuals it is called oil-bath. Their tests in a laboratory showed that:

    - the air cleaner doesn't clean at all the air which is drawn into the motor;
    - its capacity does not allow for the flow of the necessary quantity of air, even when the motor is idling. As a result, the motor does not achieve its full capacity. Dirt getting into the cylinders leads them to quickly wear out, compression drops, and the engine loses even more power. In addition, the filter was manufactured, from a mechanical point of view, extremely primitively: in places the spot-welding of the electric welding has burned through the metal, leading to leakage of oil etc. On the KV the filter is better manufactured, but it does not secure the flow in sufficient quantity of normal cleaned air. On both motors the starters are poor, being weak and of unreliable construction.
    Transmission

    Without doubt, poor. An interesting thing happened. Those working on the transmission of the KV were struck that it was very much like those transmissions on which they had worked 12-15 years ago. The firm was questioned. The firm sent the blueprints of their transmission type A-23. To everyone's surprise, the blueprints of our transmission turned out to be a copy of those sent (?). The Americans were surprised, not that we were copying their design, but that we were copying a design that they had rejected 15-20 years ago. The Americans consider that, from the point of view of the designer, installing such a transmission in the tank would create an inhuman harshness for the driver (hard to work). On the T-34 the transmission is also very poor. When it was being operated, the cogs completely fell to pieces (on all the cogwheels). A chemical analysis of the cogs on the cogwheels showed that their thermal treatment is very poor and does not in any way meet American standards for such mechanisms.
    Rolling friction clutches

    Without doubt, poor. In America, they rejected the installation of friction clutches, even on tractors (never mind tanks), several years ago. In addition to the fallaciousness of the very principle, our friction clutches are extremely carelessly machined from low-quality steel, which quickly causes wear and tear, accelerates the penetration of dirt into the drum and in no way ensures reliable functioning.
    General comments

    From the American point of view, our tanks are slow. Both our tanks can climb an incline better than any American tank. The welding of the armour plating is extremely crude and careless. The radio sets in laboratory tests turned out to be not bad. However, because of poor shielding and poor protection, after installation in the tanks the sets did not manage to establish normal communications at distances greater than 10 miles. The compactness of the radio sets and their intelligent placement in the tanks was pleasing. The machining of equipment components and parts was, with few exceptions, very poor. In particular the Americans were troubled by the disgraceful design and extremely poor work on the drive/ gear/ transmission links/ blocks (?) on the T-34. After much torment they made new ones and replaced ours. All the tanks' mechanisms demand very frequent adjustments/ fine-tuning.
    Conclusions, suggestions

    1. On both tanks, quickly replace the air cleaners with models with greater capacity capable of actually cleaning the air.

    2. The technology for tempering the armour plating should be changed. This would increase the protectiveness of the armour, either by using an equivalent thickness or, by reducing the thickness, lowering the weight and, accordingly, the use of metal.

    3. Make the tracks thicker.

    4. Replace the existing transmission of outdated design with the American "Final Drive," which would significantly increase the tanks' manoeuvrability.

    5. Abandon the use of friction clutches.

    6. Simplify the construction of small components, increase their reliability and decrease to the maximum extent possible the need to constantly make adjustments.

    7. Comparing American and Russian tanks, it is clear that driving Russian tanks is much harder. A virtuosity is demanded of Russian drivers in changing gear on the move, special experience in using friction clutches, great experience as a mechanic, and the ability to keep tanks in working condition (adjustments and repairs of components, which are constantly becoming disabled). This greatly complicates the training of tankers and drivers.

    8. Judging by samples, Russians when producing tanks pay little attention to careful machining or the finishing and technology of small parts and components, which leads to the loss of the advantage what would otherwise accrue from what on the whole are well designed tanks.

    9. Despite the advantages of the use of diesel, the good contours of the tanks, thick armour, good and reliable armaments, the successful design of the tracks etc., Russian tanks are significantly inferior to American tanks in their simplicity of driving, manoeuvrability, the strength of firing [reference to speed of shell], speed, the reliability of mechanical construction and the ease of keeping them running.

    Signed -- The head of the 2nd Department of the Main Intelligence Department of the Red Army, General Major of Tank Armies, Khlopo... (end missing: Khlopov?)

  • #2
    Tom D, this was a Soviet General officer assigned to review the American's review of the two tanks? Very interesting both in the reports findings and from the point of view.
    "Gentlemen, you can't fight in here! This is the War Room!"

    Comment


    • #3
      Interesting as well for me

      How classified was this at the time, and did the Russians take anything out of this.
      I find it interesting that the two tanks were from 1942, so, as to numbers, at the time, and quality, compared to say 43, 44, would be somewhat different, would'nt it? So, overall, this may be a bit misleading here........, as to the "average" Russian tank quality issues throughout the war.

      Cheers, comments anyone?

      Tom

      Comment


      • #4
        Originally posted by TRDG View Post
        How classified was this at the time, and did the Russians take anything out of this.
        I find it interesting that the two tanks were from 1942, so, as to numbers, at the time, and quality, compared to say 43, 44, would be somewhat different, would'nt it? So, overall, this may be a bit misleading here........, as to the "average" Russian tank quality issues throughout the war.

        Cheers, comments anyone?

        Tom
        Remember, this was not long after wholesale uprooting and re-location of many Soviet tank building facilities, not to mention the requirement to establish new ones from scratch. Indeed, the process would not have been completed at this time. There were considerable difficulties in providing a properly skilled workforce, as well as other factors that would have made quality control very difficult. From the information I have managed to find, production quality of Soviet tanks seems to have steadily improved after 1942.

        While there were certain aspects of workmanship and finish on Soviet tanks that would always make them appear relatively crude next to most of their Western counterparts, I would nevertheless advise caution with this information. I do not believe that the faults highlighted, to the degree and extent seen in these reports, would be truly representative of the quality of tanks produced for the whole war.
        "Chatfield, there seems to be something wrong with our bloody ships today!"
        Vice Admiral Beatty to Flag Captain Chatfield; Battle of Jutland, 31 May - 1 June, 1916.

        Comment


        • #5
          This report is basically BS. I mean it disses the Christie suspension which was one of the T-34's main advantages just because the US (foolishly) rejected it earlier. Lewis gun anyone?

          Comment


          • #6
            And you cant evaluate the performance and quality of a tank just by testing one tank. It can just have been a Monday example just as cars can be.
            http://i7.photobucket.com/albums/y29...ussianppsh.jpg
            www.reenactor.se

            Comment


            • #7
              I can just picture

              some of the U.S. brass "writing off" these tanks, without another look, at a later date, and from different machines!!!!

              Cheers, the Germans used captured ones at times, I wonder what they said about them, but they did tend to use almost anything, at some point, as well.......

              Tom

              Comment


              • #8
                Originally posted by Emil_G View Post
                "This report is basically BS. I mean it disses the Christie suspension which was one of the T-34's main advantages just because the US (foolishly) rejected it earlier. Lewis gun anyone?"
                Christie suspension worked best for tanks in the light-to-medium weight ranges and its eventual abandoment as a tank suspension system was due as much to steadily increasing tank weights as to anything else. (Yes, there were other considerations but I want to keep the post reasonably short! ) The Soviets recognized the relevant 'pros-and-cons' and the T-34's successors - T-44, T-54, T-55 - used torsion bars. Similarly, the British left Christie suspension behind after the Comet, with Centurion using a Horstmann type system.

                Christie suspension certainly worked well for the BT and T-34, just as it did for British cruiser tanks such as Crusader, Cromwell and Comet. It definitely had its 'day in the sun', so to speak.
                "Chatfield, there seems to be something wrong with our bloody ships today!"
                Vice Admiral Beatty to Flag Captain Chatfield; Battle of Jutland, 31 May - 1 June, 1916.

                Comment


                • #9
                  According to an article by B. K. Kavalerchik in the Russian magazine MILITARY HISTORY ARCHIVE for January 2006, the T-34 which was sent to the U.S. was prepared by the Ural Tank Factory, which was chosen because at the time (Spring 1942) it was producing the best T-34s. Five tanks were especially worked on to make sure that their parts corresponded as closely as possible to the specifications, so these tanks were BETTER than the average tank. One was sent to the U.S., one to Great Britain, two to the front, and one sits today outside of the Central Armed Forces Museum in Moscow.

                  It's true that T-34s built later in the war were improved and better-built.
                  "If you have too firm a belief in the glories of soldiering, try a war."

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    Originally posted by Kardon View Post
                    According to an article by B. K. Kavalerchik in the Russian magazine MILITARY HISTORY ARCHIVE for January 2006, the T-34 which was sent to the U.S. was prepared by the Ural Tank Factory, which was chosen because at the time (Spring 1942) it was producing the best T-34s. Five tanks were especially worked on to make sure that their parts corresponded as closely as possible to the specifications, so these tanks were BETTER than the average tank. One was sent to the U.S., one to Great Britain, two to the front, and one sits today outside of the Central Armed Forces Museum in Moscow.

                    It's true that T-34s built later in the war were improved and better-built.
                    Yes, I can believe they may have been among the best built at that particular (rather desperate) time and of course, if that was true one can only shudder to think what the 'average' standard of finish would have been then. It is just as well that the quality improved as the war progressed and it must have improved quite considerably; it would have needed to!
                    "Chatfield, there seems to be something wrong with our bloody ships today!"
                    Vice Admiral Beatty to Flag Captain Chatfield; Battle of Jutland, 31 May - 1 June, 1916.

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      Originally posted by panther3485 View Post
                      Yes, I can believe they may have been among the best built at that particular (rather desperate) time and of course, if that was true one can only shudder to think what the 'average' standard of finish would have been then. It is just as well that the quality improved as the war progressed and it must have improved quite considerably; it would have needed to!
                      Yes. Here's an extract from the article which emphasizes you point. Referring to the T-34 at Aberdeen Proving Ground which broke down at 343 kilometers,

                      "there was nothing unusual about a tank breaking down after such a short period. At that time T-34 tanks were guaranteed not to break down for 1,000 kilometers, but in practice this number was unattainable. According to a report by the Scientific Institute for Armored Equipment (NIBT) to Ya. N. Fedorenko, the chief of the Red Armyís Auto-Armored Directorate, the average distance a T-34 traveled before requiring major overhaul (capital repairs) did not exceed 200 kilometers. The Aberdeen T-34 exceeded this.

                      In 1942 the quality of Soviet tanks had significantly fallen for many understandable reasons. These included the difficulty of reestablishing production by the evacuated factories at new locations, factories switching over to new production, the loss of many supply lines and sources of raw materials, a sharp drop in the average qualification of workers due to losses among experienced workers and the hiring of many new, inexperienced workers including women and teenagers. These new workers worked tirelessly and did everything they could for the front, but they were not qualified. Producing the most tanks possible was the priority, which was understandable since the heavy losses of the initial part of the year had to be made up. Therefore the requirement for quality was reduced, and the military accepted any tank that was built. As a result, in 1942 some 34ís could only go 30-35 kilometers before needing an overhaul.

                      To a certain degree this was justified because tanks, as a rule, did not survive until the expiration of its overhaul life, short as that was. The life of a tank on the front line was not long Ė on average 4-10 days (not counting time spent in transit by rail and being repaired), or from 1-3 attacks. In 1942 the average mileage before being put out of service due to combat was 66.7 kilometers, which was less than half the average mileage before needing an overhaul. The majority of tanks simply didnít live long enough to break down.

                      The V-2 diesel engine which equipped T-34s and KV-1s was still suffering growing pains. At that time its designers were struggling to extend the dieselís service life to 100 hours, but in reality it seldom lasted more than 60. The engine of the T-34 which was tested at Aberdeen broke down at 72.5 hours, of which 58.45 were under load and 14.05 were while idling. The KVís diesel lasted 66.4 hours. One of the deficiencies of the B-2, besides a short guaranteed life, was an increased fuel consumption (12% above norm), and, especially, a completely unacceptable over-consumption of oil, which exceeded existing norms by 3-8 times! Therefore the range of a T-34 in 1942 was limited not by fuel, but by oil: according to the averages at that time from the technical department of the Peopleís Commissariat for Tank Production, a T-34 carried enough fuel for 200-220 kilometers, but oil for only 145. At the same time German and American tanks didnít require any additional oil; it was simply changed every 2,000 kilometers.Ē
                      "If you have too firm a belief in the glories of soldiering, try a war."

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        Thanks Kardon!!

                        Very good posts and info there, panther was on the money, I would'nt bet against him, unless it was in a game maybe.......

                        Cheers, anthing written in report form for the Lend-Lease items we shipped over there, from the Russians?

                        Tom

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          Originally posted by Kardon View Post
                          Yes. Here's an extract from the article which emphasizes you point. Referring to the T-34 at Aberdeen Proving Ground which broke down at 343 kilometers,

                          "there was nothing unusual about a tank breaking down after such a short period. At that time T-34 tanks were guaranteed not to break down for 1,000 kilometers, but in practice this number was unattainable. According to a report by the Scientific Institute for Armored Equipment (NIBT) to Ya. N. Fedorenko, the chief of the Red Armyís Auto-Armored Directorate, the average distance a T-34 traveled before requiring major overhaul (capital repairs) did not exceed 200 kilometers. The Aberdeen T-34 exceeded this.

                          In 1942 the quality of Soviet tanks had significantly fallen for many understandable reasons. These included the difficulty of reestablishing production by the evacuated factories at new locations, factories switching over to new production, the loss of many supply lines and sources of raw materials, a sharp drop in the average qualification of workers due to losses among experienced workers and the hiring of many new, inexperienced workers including women and teenagers. These new workers worked tirelessly and did everything they could for the front, but they were not qualified. Producing the most tanks possible was the priority, which was understandable since the heavy losses of the initial part of the year had to be made up. Therefore the requirement for quality was reduced, and the military accepted any tank that was built. As a result, in 1942 some 34ís could only go 30-35 kilometers before needing an overhaul.

                          To a certain degree this was justified because tanks, as a rule, did not survive until the expiration of its overhaul life, short as that was. The life of a tank on the front line was not long Ė on average 4-10 days (not counting time spent in transit by rail and being repaired), or from 1-3 attacks. In 1942 the average mileage before being put out of service due to combat was 66.7 kilometers, which was less than half the average mileage before needing an overhaul. The majority of tanks simply didnít live long enough to break down.

                          The V-2 diesel engine which equipped T-34s and KV-1s was still suffering growing pains. At that time its designers were struggling to extend the dieselís service life to 100 hours, but in reality it seldom lasted more than 60. The engine of the T-34 which was tested at Aberdeen broke down at 72.5 hours, of which 58.45 were under load and 14.05 were while idling. The KVís diesel lasted 66.4 hours. One of the deficiencies of the B-2, besides a short guaranteed life, was an increased fuel consumption (12% above norm), and, especially, a completely unacceptable over-consumption of oil, which exceeded existing norms by 3-8 times! Therefore the range of a T-34 in 1942 was limited not by fuel, but by oil: according to the averages at that time from the technical department of the Peopleís Commissariat for Tank Production, a T-34 carried enough fuel for 200-220 kilometers, but oil for only 145. At the same time German and American tanks didnít require any additional oil; it was simply changed every 2,000 kilometers.Ē
                          Indeed. Well posted; I've seen some of those points brought out in Baryatinskiy's book on the T-34 (a recent addition to my home library). Well deserved rep on the way.
                          "Chatfield, there seems to be something wrong with our bloody ships today!"
                          Vice Admiral Beatty to Flag Captain Chatfield; Battle of Jutland, 31 May - 1 June, 1916.

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            Originally posted by TRDG View Post
                            "....panther was on the money, I would'nt bet against him, unless it was in a game maybe......."
                            I make a lousy Poker player; can't stop myself from grinning when I'm holding a winning hand!
                            "Chatfield, there seems to be something wrong with our bloody ships today!"
                            Vice Admiral Beatty to Flag Captain Chatfield; Battle of Jutland, 31 May - 1 June, 1916.

                            Comment


                            • #15
                              Just having some fun, and

                              a "hint" about a certain game that is up on the site is all , I used to kill in poker, way back when.....

                              Cheers

                              Tom

                              Kardon got some rep from me as well!!

                              Comment

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